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As others have said, this cruise is more about the ports than it is about the ship. It is the only cruise ship with this wonderful itinerary. But it is not just a floating hotel with small rooms. It is an interesting and fun way, especially for a family, to visit Hawaii. Our 15 and 11 year olds loved the trip (and so did their parents). We found the crew to be hard working, professional, and upbeat. Not much different really than a crew on a ship that is not American-flagged. In fact, it was nice to be able to chat with crew members from the USA, it was different than what we have found on other ships, but not in a bad way. We also appreciated the willingness of the ship's officers to visit with cruise critic members at the meet and greet, and the officers impressed us with their earnestness and interest in making the cruise a wonderful one. The ship was generally clean and well maintained. We did see some things that made us feel that this is not up to the same standards as some other ships. For example, drawers that do not open smoothly, small rust spots in the railings of our balcony, some worn spots in the upholstery in our room, and a safe that did not work. These were small things, however, that did not in any way spoil our trip. The ship did roll a little, perhaps because of the weather or large Pacific swells. This was more fun than anything, as it was interesting to watch people walking down the long passageways, weaving from one side to the other as they went. The ocean view cabin with balcony we had was small but adequate (and we had four people in it). "Adequate" means that there was room under the beds for most everything, even though it was hard to move around in the room unless someone went out to the balcony or was in the bathroom. The beds were very comfortable. We went to Skyline (one of the two main dining rooms) only once, and went to a restaurant with a cover charge (Little Italy) only once. Neither really impressed us. The food was OK in both, but not gourmet. The service was faster in Little Italy than in Skyline. It seems that at least on this ship, the "Freestyle" dining may have the result of sending people to the buffet, which was outstanding. We were not interested in waiting to have a long dinner in the main dining room, or to pay extra, to eat somewhere else when the buffet was consistently good. We particularly enjoyed the parts of the buffet where you can get Asian food, pasta to order, and dessert crepes. Yes, the buffet can be crowded at certain times, but this never interfered with the service or quality there. The people who run the buffet do a really great job. We ate there for breakfast every day and also for dinner on five five days. For a family with kids, the buffet is convenient and it can't be beat. When using the buffet, remember to go aft to the outdoor portion, which is a pleasant place to watch the scenery while having breakfast or dinner. We went to a couple of shows, including the comedian and broadway cabarets. The Toby and Beau show and the Frankie Valli tribute were both outstanding. We really liked the comedian too, who drew standing room crowds for his shows. The ship's singers and dancers are excellent. The cruise director is energetic and fun. The teen club is well-run and was a popular spot for our daughter. Embarkation and disembarkation were amazingly smooth. They went better than on any cruise we have been on before. Note that if you have used NCL before you should sign up for "Latitudes" membership, as this will speed up your embarkation process substantially. We would gladly go on this cruise again, and would recommend it to others.

Enjoyable family vacation on Pride of America

Pride of America Cruise Review by soxfan1495

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2012
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Family Balcony
As others have said, this cruise is more about the ports than it is about the ship. It is the only cruise ship with this wonderful itinerary. But it is not just a floating hotel with small rooms. It is an interesting and fun way, especially for a family, to visit Hawaii. Our 15 and 11 year olds loved the trip (and so did their parents).

We found the crew to be hard working, professional, and upbeat. Not much different really than a crew on a ship that is not American-flagged. In fact, it was nice to be able to chat with crew members from the USA, it was different than what we have found on other ships, but not in a bad way. We also appreciated the willingness of the ship's officers to visit with cruise critic members at the meet and greet, and the officers impressed us with their earnestness and interest in making the cruise a wonderful one.

The ship was generally clean and well maintained. We did see some things that made us feel that this is not up to the same standards as some other ships. For example, drawers that do not open smoothly, small rust spots in the railings of our balcony, some worn spots in the upholstery in our room, and a safe that did not work. These were small things, however, that did not in any way spoil our trip. The ship did roll a little, perhaps because of the weather or large Pacific swells. This was more fun than anything, as it was interesting to watch people walking down the long passageways, weaving from one side to the other as they went. The ocean view cabin with balcony we had was small but adequate (and we had four people in it). "Adequate" means that there was room under the beds for most everything, even though it was hard to move around in the room unless someone went out to the balcony or was in the bathroom. The beds were very comfortable.

We went to Skyline (one of the two main dining rooms) only once, and went to a restaurant with a cover charge (Little Italy) only once. Neither really impressed us. The food was OK in both, but not gourmet. The service was faster in Little Italy than in Skyline. It seems that at least on this ship, the "Freestyle" dining may have the result of sending people to the buffet, which was outstanding. We were not interested in waiting to have a long dinner in the main dining room, or to pay extra, to eat somewhere else when the buffet was consistently good. We particularly enjoyed the parts of the buffet where you can get Asian food, pasta to order, and dessert crepes. Yes, the buffet can be crowded at certain times, but this never interfered with the service or quality there. The people who run the buffet do a really great job. We ate there for breakfast every day and also for dinner on five five days. For a family with kids, the buffet is convenient and it can't be beat. When using the buffet, remember to go aft to the outdoor portion, which is a pleasant place to watch the scenery while having breakfast or dinner.

We went to a couple of shows, including the comedian and broadway cabarets. The Toby and Beau show and the Frankie Valli tribute were both outstanding. We really liked the comedian too, who drew standing room crowds for his shows. The ship's singers and dancers are excellent. The cruise director is energetic and fun. The teen club is well-run and was a popular spot for our daughter.

Embarkation and disembarkation were amazingly smooth. They went better than on any cruise we have been on before. Note that if you have used NCL before you should sign up for "Latitudes" membership, as this will speed up your embarkation process substantially.

We would gladly go on this cruise again, and would recommend it to others.
soxfan1495’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 13 to 15
Service

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akaka Falls
    Probably the best falls we saw. Very high.
    View All 23 Akaka Falls Reviews
  • Botanical Garden
    This was a surprisingly nice stop. It was beautiful and we would definitely recommend seeing this. It doesn't take too long but is really special.
    View All 15 Botanical Garden Reviews
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    Interesting stop, especially if you are interested in geology. We actually liked the Botanical Gardens more.
    View All 110 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Reviews
  • Dolphin Swim
    This excursion involved snorkeling in the same area as dolphins. A nice opportunity to get close to nature... if the dolphins wanted to cooperate (which they eventually did).
    View All 8,093 Dolphin Swim Reviews
  • Pearl Harbor
    A very meaningful stop. Good presentation that brings history to life.
    View All 138 Pearl Harbor Reviews
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
    This is a long drive, but it is worth it if you want to learn about the cultures of the various islands that make up Polynesia. In addition, there is an entertaining show called "Ha, the Breath of Life." We purchased the "ambassador package" which provided a guide. Although pricey, we thought this was worth it. The guides, all students from the Polynesian islands featured a the PCC did a nice job.
    View All 31 Polynesian Cultural Center Reviews
  • Flightseeing
    We enjoyed the airplane tour over Kauai much more than the photo tour, but both were good to do.
    View All 8,093 Flightseeing Reviews
  • Zip-Lining
    This was more fun than expected. We took the zip and splash tour. This included a couple of nice long zip lines, an opportunity to zip over and drop into a refreshing fresh water pool, and a nice lunch. All near where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed. Very competent guides.
    View All 15 Zip-Lining Reviews
  • Glass Bottom Boat
    Fun experience for those in our group who were not interested in snorkeling but wanted to see fish.
    View All 10 Glass Bottom Boat Reviews
  • Rafting
    Captain Zodiac rafting took us to a wonderful snorkeling spot. Many nice photos there of colorful fish. The guide was friendly, and very competent.
    View All 2 Rafting Reviews
  • Haleakala Crater
    A very interesting experience, even if it is cold, windy, and rainy, during your visit (as it was for us).
    View All 72 Haleakala Crater Reviews
  • Iao Valley
    OK to see, but not as interesting as other things on the island.
    View All 21 Iao Valley Reviews
  • Road to Hana
    This was probably the highlight of our trip. Well worth it if you have a private guide who knows the hidden spots to visit.
    View All 72 Road to Hana Reviews